A gene stores the information for making an RNA molecule in its sequence of nucleotide bases. The RNA is transcribed in a sequence complementary to the sequence of bases in the DNA of the gene. While in certain instances the RNA itself may serve as the final product, most often the RNA will perform as a template for translation into a protein molecule. 'Transcription and translation' is the central dogma of molecular biology. The events involved in the transcription of DNA into RNA and the subsequent translation of RNA into protein comprise the subject matter of the topic of gene expression.
The operon concept underlying prokaryotic gene expression is the starting point to discuss regulation of gene expression. Prokaryotic gene expression is easily comprehensible, but eukaryotic gene expression is a much more wide-ranging and complex subject. Although there is quite a bit you can understand and need to know for the MCAT, eukaryotic gene expression is not something a person really ever masters. As you grow in fluency in the topic of gene expression within a complex organism like a human being, the topic becomes a kind of cultivated disposition towards emergent complexity and highlighted mechanisms overlap subject matter in cell-signaling, development and physiology. The goal in study is to become able to participate in the discussion through mastery of a conceptual vocabulary.
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Conceptual Vocabulary for Gene Expression